Palestine Updates 11/2017
Hold Israel to a higher standard that we also have to hold ourselves to as well
On the question of the ‘Rule of Law’, Israel applies two standards; one for its rulers, citizens, and military; the other for the Palestinian. Netanyahu can be under investigation for corruption and still be the PM. But not so a Knesset member who is Arab – He is punished on a mere allegation of passing mobiles to Palestinian Prisoners. What law prohibits such a step? Besides, Israel is trying to sneak in new legislation that will protect Netanyahu from being probed. Such are absurdly double standards.
So, the transition of the BDS from being an action into a global movement should come as no surprise. Similarly, there should be no shock that Israel’s image and popular perceptions are shifting declining because Israel does not respect law- internal or international. Setbacks and lobbies won’t change this one bit. America may wield enormous political clout, but it won’t save Israel unless it chooses the path of being a candid truth teller to Israel. It must end its pretense to being the ‘lawyer’ for the Israel. If the US countenances Israeli intransigence, it will lose its capacity to shape things in a way that begets peace. It will have to firmly reject the move to shift the US Embassy to Jerusalem or demonstrate tolerance for Israeli moves that run counter to international agreements. In some ways, the US is already in a corner. There is no trust that it will deal with an even hand and that is because nearly every Congressman and Senator has succumbed to threats and chewed upon the carrots Israel holds up.
Fortunately, a vast body of public opinion is challenging the lobbies that sustain this political conduct. Not just the usual activists, but important and progressive Jewish voices have raised their voices and are protesting against Israeli excesses. No one is asking for the dismantling of the Jewish State. What they want dismantled is the occupation and all its props- the wall, the blockade, the military presence, and the conclusion of the occupation with all final status issues settled according to internal law and UN resolutions. When common sense is applied, this is simple. When the soiled politics of racism and domination serve the injustices served out by the occupation, it begins to look knotty.
If governments are going to make a difference, there is the one punishment that Palestine Updates affirms over and over again: Isolate Israel until it accepts its obligations; or face being the world’s political recluse. The Sunday’s Mid-East summit will bring together 72 countries to kick start a stalled negotiation process at a moment when it seems to have been fundamentally discarded.
News in this edition of Palestine Updates offers reason for this view.
Iona Community in Scotland backs ‘Boycott Divestment Sanctions’ of Israel
The Christian Group, Iona Community, has declared its support for the ‘Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions’ (BDS) movement of the Israeli state as a method to bring peace and justice to Palestine and the peoples of the Middle East. A new policy position, following a six month process and discussions with “Palestinian and Jewish friends in Scotland”, was arrived at as part of the community’s peace campaigning efforts. The Christian group, states that criticism of so-called ‘Christian Zionism’ is required to cease injustice in the “settler colonial project” on historic Palestinian land.
The full statement/policy of the Iona community can be found in the Kairos Britain site
The report above is drawn from Common Space, Scotland
72 countries to attend Mideast peace summit in Paris on Sunday
French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been invited to come to France after the conference to be informed of its conclusions. France wants “to restart the (negotiation) process at a moment when it has been largely abandoned,” Le Foll said.
Netanyahu has declined the invitation – saying only direct negotiations will produce a solution. Abbas is expected to visit the French capital at the end of the week on the sidelines of the conference. It was unclear whether he would meet French President Francois Hollande.
Read more on the associated press website
Israel’s global standing on the wane, top strategists say
“Israel’s image in Western countries continues to decline, a trend that enhances the ability of hostile groups to engage in actions aimed at depriving Israel of moral and political legitimacy and launch boycotts,” the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University states in its 2016-2017 Strategic Survey for Israel.
An analytical perspective can be found in The Electronic Intifada
France dumps purchase of Israeli drones
BDS campaigners in France are welcoming their government’s decision not to spend more than $100 million on Israeli drones. This is the second major defeat for Israel’s Elbit Systems, which last year lost a major bid it had been tipped to win to sell France its Watchkeeper drone.
BDS France said it is “delighted at the commercial failure of Elbit Systems,” stressing that the company “uses the Palestinian population as guinea pigs to test its weapons, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” Elbit Systems is one of several major Israeli arms companies that profit from Israel’s military occupation and assaults on Palestinians, by using them as opportunities to test weapons that are then marketed internationally.
BDS activists had waged an intense campaign against buying the Israeli drones, including sending thousands of postcards to President François Hollande, and staging two national days of protest with rallies in dozens of cities.
Read more on the middle east rising website
The BDS struggle in US academia
A new generation of scholars pushes BDS despite setbacks and strong lobbies. The Delegate Assembly of the Modern Language Association (MLA) voted against a non-binding resolution to endorse the call from Palestinian civil society for the academic boycott of Israeli institutions (Yes, 79; No, 113). At that same session, the Assembly voted for a resolution to condemn the boycott (Yes, 101; No, 93). One of the reasons it is difficult for those supporting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to get their motions passed is that external organisations here and in Israel add their resources and legal teams to the anti-boycott side.
An in-depth perspective is available in the Al Jazeera link herwith
US cannot be Israel’s lawyer
Former Secretary of State James Baker on Sunday warned that President-elect Donald Trump’s new administration “cannot be Israel’s lawyer” if it expects to successfully broker peace in the Arab/Israeli conflict. Baker said he hopes Trump “will immerse himself” in the issue of peace in the Middle East because “it takes leadership at the very top of America’s government if that’s got any chance of succeeding…But you can’t think you can succeed at that if you are in effect so biased one way or the other,” he warned. “You cannot be Israel’s lawyer and expect to solve the Palestinian/Israeli dispute… “Baker said he does not agree with annexing the West Bank or moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Newsmax article explains this further
Palestine will revoke recognition of Israel if US moves embassy
Mohammad Shtayyeh, a senior Palestinian official and Fatah central committee member said moving the U.S. embassy would mean an “end to the two-state solution…I think and we all think that moving the embassy to Jerusalem is a dangerous step that will have dangerous consequences for the political track for our people and for our future aspirations and for the Muslim, Arab, Christian countries and people all over the world,” Shtayyeh told journalists. Shtayyeh called for prayers at mosques throughout the Middle East Friday as well as for churches to ring bells in protest Sunday. “We are not inciting violence. Ringing a church bell … is not a violent act. Calling for a prayer is not a violent act.”
Read more from the ‘telesur’ on the Palestinian leader’s statement
Also read “Justice Minister claims Bible gives Israel “legal right” to Palestinian city”
UN calls for not forgetting the suffering of Palestinian refugees
Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), called today here for not forgetting the support needed by 5,200,000 Palestinians.
As the flow of refugees and immigrants seeking to reach Europe, they must continue to prioritize Palestinians. “These are human beings subjected to an occupation, displacements, blockades, unemployment and conflicts, in a scenario worsened by decades of problems”, the Commissioner General said. This is the 50th year of the occupation and the tenth of the blockade against Gaza, both staged by Israel.
Read from Prensa Latina – the Latin American Agency for more on this call
Israel revokes Jerusalem attackers family residency rights
Israeli Occupation Authorities on Tuesday morning has decided to revoke the residency of 13 of the relatives of Fadi Qunber who carried out the truck ramming in Jerusalem two days ago. The revocation includes Fadi’s mother and other relatives, added to a series of collective punishment measures against the family in particular, and the town of Jabal Al-Mukabber as a whole.
IOF took measurements of the Qunber family home in order to demolish it. Israeli cabinet of ministers has also taken a series of punitive measures, including raiding the family home of Qunber, taking down his mourning tent, arresting his sisters and not returning his body to his family. IOF has tightened restrictions over entering and leaving the town, and threatened with administrative detention to anyone who shows support for the operative. The Israeli ministry of Interior said that such measurements are meant to “deter” anti-occupation attacks. Collective punishments are illegal in international law.
Read full report from the Palestine News Network
Joint report estimates that 6440 Palestinians arrested in 2016
A joint report was issued on the 1st of January by the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights to summarise the events of 2016. They estimated that 6440 Palestinians were arrested throughout the course of the year. This includes 1332 children and 164 women, corresponding to an approximate total of 7,000 current Palestinian prisoners including 300 minors, 53 women, 700 administrative detainees and 22 journalists. The prisoner’s rights group Addameer estimates that 40 percent of Palestinian men have been detained by Israel at some point in their lives.
Read Addameer for the full joint report
*Jill Ellen Stein, American physician, activist, and politician wasthe Green Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2012 and 2016 elections.